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'It's pro football, man, and you have some bad games': Stamps season over following second half meltdown
It’s certainly not the ending the Calgary Stampeders, or their fans, hoped for.
The Stamps won’t be playing in front of the home fans in this year's Grey Cup after the Winnipeg Blue Bombers overcame a first half deficit to defeat the Stamps 35-14 in the CFL Western Semifinal at a frosty McMahon Stadium Sunday.
Stampeder quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell finished 12 of 28 for 116 yards and one touchdown, with three interceptions.
Mitchell didn't make excuses after the game. He said criticism of his performance is fair game.
"I think you should take criticism when it comes to performances like that," Mitchell told reporters at Monday's recap.
“It was literally the worst game of my entire career, statistics-wise," he said, "So you’re not ever going to put that on anybody else. You‘ve got to look at yourself and look in the mirror and watch the film to find ways you can get better."
Mitchell's teammates said the loss couldn’t be pinned on one person.
Offensive lineman Derek Dennis said the Stamps win as a team and lose as a team and Mitchell has done enough in his career — like playing a huge role in leading the Stamps to four of the past five Grey Cup games — to warrant being cut some slack.
“It’s pro football, man, and you have some bad games. You can’t be perfect every day and yesterday was just one of those days," Dennis said. "Bo has a phenomenal legacy in this league.
"He’s a bona fide Hall of Famer, and he’s still got a lot of football to play," he said.
Head Coach Dave Dickinson agreed.
“He didn’t have his best game and he’s pretty hard on himself," Dickenson said. "It just was a team loss.
"They outplayed us, outcoached us (too), so I’m not going to single out one person on that."
Many of the Stampeders say they’ll be sticking around Calgary for Grey Cup celebrations, although not many plan to attend the actual game on Nov. 24.
They say that would just be too hard to see another team — either Saskatchewan, Winnipeg, Edmonton or Hamilton — win it all at McMahon Stadium.